January 9, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces New Initiatives to Fight Crime and Improve Public Safety

Governor Hochul Announces New Initiatives to Fight Crime and Improve Public Safety

State of the State Proposal Will Address New Yorkers’ Public Safety Concerns, Including Gun Violence, Retail Theft, Domestic Violence, and Hate Crimes

State Will Establish Joint Operation Among Multiple Law Enforcement Agencies and Create New State Police “Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit” To Crack Down on Retail Theft, Support Small Businesses and Retail Workers, and Bring Peace of Mind to New Yorkers

Directs Department of Health’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention to Implement Comprehensive Set of Strategies Aimed at Preventing Gun Violence

State Investments Will Support Successful Prosecution of Perpetrators of Domestic Violence and Gun Seizures from Offenders

Building on the Governor’s Continued Efforts to Combat Hate Crimes in New York, Governor Hochul Will Propose Legislation to Expand the List of Offenses Eligible for Prosecution as Hate Crimes

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Governor Kathy Hochul today announced several initiatives to keep New Yorkers safe as a part of her 2024 State of the State address. As New Yorkers remain seriously concerned about crime and public safety, Governor Hochul announced the launch of a joint operation of law enforcement agencies to crack down on retail theft to support small businesses and provide peace of mind to customers. State investments will also support the successful prosecution of domestic violence perpetrators and keep guns out of the hands of offenders. Governor Hochul is also directing the Department of Health’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention to implement a comprehensive set of strategies aimed at preventing gun violence. Building on the Governor’s continued efforts to combat hate crimes, Governor Hochul will propose legislation to expand the list of offenses eligible for prosecution as hate crimes.

“If government can’t keep New Yorkers safe, nothing else matters,” Governor Hochul said. “In the past year, we’ve reduced gun violence and brought shootings down by more than a third statewide. Our success in bringing down gun violence proves that targeted strategies work — and changing trends is possible.”

Since taking office, Governor Hochul has continued to prioritize initiatives and investments to make New York safer. In 2023, shootings were down substantially from their pandemic peak, both in New York City, down roughly 38 percent from 2021, and in GIVE jurisdictions around the state, down roughly 35 percent. New York City has now returned to 2016 levels of shootings and GIVE jurisdictions have returned to 2017 levels.

Cracking Down on Retail Theft

Governor Hochul is proposing a comprehensive plan to tackle property crime, provide relief to small businesses, and bring peace of mind to New Yorkers while they shop. Across the state, property crime has risen exponentially since the pandemic. From January to June 2023, larceny in New York City was up 12 percent over the same period in 2022 and up 58 percent compared to the first six months of 2017. In the rest of the state, although 2 percent down from 2017, larceny has risen 3 percent year over year, trending upward. As a result, business owners and retail workers are facing increased stress and financial strain, and New Yorkers are concerned and frustrated running simple errands at a local pharmacy, grocery story or retail shop.

Governor Hochul’s plan includes:

  • Introducing legislation to establish criminal penalties for online marketplaces and third-party sellers that foster the sale of stolen goods and increase criminal penalties for assaulting retail workers;
  • Launching the Retail Theft Joint Operation to coordinate through our network of Crime Analysis Centers the response of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, modeled on the successful intra-state task force on gun trafficking, but focused on combatting organized retail theft crime;
  • Deploying a dedicated New York State Police team to build cases against organized retail theft rings;
  • Setting up a New York State Police Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit.
  • Expanding the work of the 11 Crime Analysis Centers (CACs) by providing a centralized intelligence gathering and evidence collection strategy across the State designed to receive intelligence from retailers victimized by organized crime theft. These data, intel and evidence would be collected by the CACs and shared with local law enforcement to enhance the investigation and prosecution of these crimes across state jurisdictions;
  • Establishing a Commercial Security Tax Credit to help business owners offset the costs of certain store security measures;
  • Providing funding for dedicated teams in District Attorneys’ offices throughout the State focused on property crime, primarily organized retail theft;
  • Funding for the DAs and new SP units to allow for an increased use, enforcement and prosecution of Trespass Affidavits and other legal strategies to assist small businesses in combatting this retail theft;

Preventing Gun Violence

Governor Hochul will direct the Office of Gun Violence Prevention to implement a comprehensive set of strategies aimed at preventing gun violence:

  • Provide technical assistance to community-based organizations and hospitals to align their hospital violence intervention programs with the recently signed Medicaid Reimbursement for Violence Prevention Programs, which allows low-income New Yorkers impacted by community violence to receive violence prevention services from qualified specialists;
  • Continue building public awareness to change the narrative on gun violence to discourage perpetuating stereotypes based on race and class that further proliferating racial injustice and health inequity;
  • Building upon Governor Hochul’s expansion of the Red Flag Law in June 2022 that allowed health care providers to file an Extreme Risk Protection Order petition to prevent individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from accessing any kind of firearm, New York will offer training and awareness for these health care providers;
  • Convene a New York State Health Systems for Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce to focus on data infrastructure, firearm injury risk assessment screening, and hospital violence intervention;
  • Continue to invest in community-led youth programs in historically under-resourced communities that experience the highest rates of gun violence.
  • Create a syndromic surveillance system for firearm related injuries and a dashboard for the public.

Reducing Domestic Violence and Supporting Survivors

Domestic violence accounts for roughly 20 percent of murders in the State. Each year, approximately 40 percent of felony assaults and 30 percent of aggravated assaults outside of New York City are domestic violence related. However, many domestic violence offenders are never prosecuted, often leading to offenders’ abusive behavior continuing or escalating. In New York, roughly two in three prosecuted domestic violence related arrests were dismissed in 2022.

Governor Hochul is proposing bold investments in a set of proven strategies to increase the likelihood of both successfully prosecuting domestic violence cases and seizing firearms, deterring future violence among high-risk offenders, and helping survivors recover:

  • Provide dedicated funding to District Attorneys’ offices in GIVE jurisdictions to expand DV STAT, a model first piloted in Queens that supports collection of evidence and relationship-building with victims even before an arrest is made.
  • Provide funding to jurisdictions to implement “gold standard” risk assessment tools to focus on high-risk domestic violence perpetrators and victims;
  • Provide dedicated funding to GIVE jurisdictions to focus on domestic violence offenders, identifying the most high-risk individuals and engaging them to reduce recidivism;
  • Provide funding to expand the Supervision Against Violent Engagement (SAVE) program to improve public safety among recently released individuals by focusing on domestic violence;
  • Provide funding to local jurisdictions partnering with CACs to build the data collection capacity of local law enforcement and to work with the State's Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence to review the current state capacity of law enforcement information-sharing with regard to domestic violence reports. New York will modernize the use of the critical data available when answering domestic calls for service through the Domestic Incident Reporting and expand the use of the National Incident Based Reporting System so critical and potentially life-saving information and reports are electronic, shareable, and searchable statewide;
  • Continue the Governor’s commitment to providing survivors with the emergency, flexible funding aid they need at their time of crisis via microgrants to be used to cover expenses in emergency situations.

Combating Rise in Hate Crimes

Governor Hochul is proposing legislation to expand the list of offenses eligible for prosecution as hate crimes to include all forms of first-degree rape, gang assault, making graffiti, and arson, among others. Between 2018 and 2022, the number of hate crime incidents increased by 69 percent in New York City and 109 percent outside of New York City. Governor Hochul has remained at the forefront of efforts to fight hate in all its forms, including in the wake of the recent rise in hate crimes and incidents of harassment, which have been driven by a spike in antisemitic incidents, up 214 percent in October 2023. Governor Hochul has deployed additional State Police to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the launch of a new hotline for reporting incidents of hate, and disbursement of more than $51 million in grant funding to support security at 497 nonprofit community groups, cultural museums, and civic organizations statewide.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640

Translations

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